Eight weeks ago I gave birth to my second child. I have recently exited my fourth trimester and am living that postpartum realness. You know what I’m talking about…the unshowered, spit-up stained, chocolate-covered almonds for dinner, sleep-deprived life.
If you’ve been pregnant you know that being pregnant and recovering postpartum can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. I wanted to write about how my relationship with how I view my body has changed from my first pregnancy to my second. I also wanted to share some tools I’ve implemented this time around to make the relationship to my body a more loving one.
It’s no secret that society puts such immense pressure on us after being pregnant to look a certain way and look that way FAST. How nice would it be if society put just as much of a focus on how the heck we are doing mentally and emotionally?! Let me state the obvious here, if your waistline is smaller, this does not mean you’ll be happier, more fulfilled, less depressed, or a better human being.
After my first pregnancy, I remember hating the changes that my body had gone through. I was mentally fighting, being postpartum, and spent most of those first few months just wishing it away and trying to push myself too hard. To give you an example I remember doing a wall handstand and feeling like my uterus dropped into my lungs… I am a very active person and working out is a key component to my feelings of overall health and mental wellness. I thought and hoped that getting back to fitness quickly would allow me to skip over the challenges of those first hard months. I learned quickly that you can’t rush healing, and when I look back on that time I wish I had been able to soak in the slowness a little more.
This time around I’m trying to embrace what I think of as the “slow and soft” period that is the fourth trimester. This doesn’t mean I’m not battling those inner voices that are telling me to “get back out there”. I went on a long walk just over a week after my daughter was born and my body let me know that we were not ready for that yet. My body is different, things have stretched, shifted, and expanded. When I catch myself becoming critical of these changes I try to shift to a place of acceptance. My body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing right now. I look forward to safely returning to my intense workouts one day, but I’m also doing the work to ensure that I don’t rush through my slow and soft season.
So in closing, and the size of your body is the least interesting thing about you. If getting back to working out will bring you happiness and joy, start it up when it’s a safe and healthy choice, not because society is making you feel like there’s something wrong with how you look.
Pic Courtesy: Cory Conty